Anthony Bourdain and Roy Choi talk “Guts and Glory”

Fans of Anthony Bourdain are a unique breed and I count myself among them. We absolutely adore the man and in our eyes he can do no wrong. Period.

Our favorite chef/writer was in town this week for a sold out presentation at the Pantages in Hollywood, where he shared the stage with our very own LA homeboy and the man behind the Kogi taco trucks, Roy Choi. (Gracias a la Karlita B. and Alejandra for the invite and to Lucia for coming with.)

“Guts and Glory” was the theme and it was a fascinating two hour conversation, interview style, con cada quien haciéndose preguntas from their own list. The main topic was food, of course, but it went far beyond that and turned into a great analysis of what’s going on today in our lifestyle, our culture, our worship of all things food related, business practices, good versus evil, celebrity chefs, and even racism in restaurants. De todo un poco!

The poster from the event.

The poster from the event.

Both guys are passionate about their stuff. Tony Bourdain was his usual, badass self when talking about McDonald’s and the other fast food chains, and how much he despises the fact that KFC now offers “boneless chicken wings” just to make it easier for the younger generations to eat the wings. “What does this say about us as a nation?!” The man is not shy about sharing his opinion, and when asked about his nemesis, la Paula Dean, he did not back off from his earlier controversial statements about her being the “worst person in America.” Yep, it’s pretty clear he still can’t stand her. As for Rachel Ray, he said they’ve made their peace and told everyone why he “can not dislike this woman.” (Se lo ganó la Rachel con un roast en donde ella le hizo unos comentarios un poco crudos that I can’t repeat here.)

But for me the real surprise was how close Bourdain and Roy Choi have become, even saying about Roy “he’s my brother from another mother.” Tony mentioned he was publishing Roy’s upcoming book and was extremely concerned when Roy became a vegetarian last year. “Are you OK?” he emailed him. Roy was charming, humble, honest and seems to be a really good person, concerned with the way his waiters and cooks are treated and even suggesting that homeless people be served at restaurants. (“Never gonna happen,” said Bourdain. “It’s still has to be a business.”) Me dio la impresión que el Roy es ‘paisa,’ ya saben como… buena onda, chistoso y muy chambeador.

Pantages-AnthonyBourdain

When it was turn for the audience’s Q&A, most questions for Tony were related to his new show, to his travels and to what he eats. When asked what his favorite restaurants in LA were, he mentioned a few, but remember him listing Son of a Gun, Mozza (from his buddy Mario Batali) and of course, In N Out Burger. You can’t go wrong with that. For his last meal, he’s changed it from the tuétano-bone marrow he loves to Jiro’s Sushi in Japan (I recently saw the documentary and it is wonderful!)

As for “Parts Unknown,” his new show on CNN, he says he has a new list of places he wants to visit and has the green light from the network to go anywhere he wants. If things work out and the production is secured, one of the places he’ll visit is Iran, since he wants to go eat the rice there, which he says is amazing. Roy then added that he now wanted to tag along. (Nomás que tengan mucho cuidado.)

Of course they also plugged this Sunday’s show where Bourdain comes to LA again, but now it’s to Koreatown, or the hidden part of LA as he calls it. Looks like it’s going to be an interesting show since both guys have a good dynamic and Korean food is delish.

One of my favorite moments from the night was when someone asked Bourdain why anyone should travel and see the world. His answer was very simple and very heartfelt. “It just makes you a better person, to see the world, walk in someone else’s shoes. I can’t recommend it enough.” 

Come back to visit us soon Tony Bourdain! We love you.

Anthony Bourdain and Roy Choi and their K-Town adventures air this Sunday on CNN at 9pm. (Photo from the on-air tv promo.)

Anthony Bourdain and Roy Choi and their K-Town adventures air this Sunday on CNN at 9pm. (Photo from on-air TV promo.)

Yeah. We'll be watching. (Photo from on-air TV promo.)

Yeah. We’ll be watching. (Photo from on-air TV promo.)

NY City Bites, or how I ate my way around Manhattan

“If this town is just an Apple, then let me take a bite.” – Michael Jackson, Human Nature

What is it about New York City that makes its food so delicious and unique? Is it the water?

I was  there last week celebrating my birthday with two of the most important women in my life (Mi Mamá y Mi Tia)  and in retrospect, it seemed our mantra was let’s “Eat, Drink and Be Merry.”

According to one of the city’s tourist gurus, there are 31 thousand restaurants in New York City (Manhattan) alone. THIRTY ONE THOUSAND!

Here are a few photos of recently discovered and eternal favorites. This was my 7th trip to New York and it was wonderful. (Gracias Mama y Tia!!)

PS: Full disclosure: I took all the photos except for one, and I am happy to share as long as you give me credit for them.

Balthazar SoHo:

Balthazar from its interior. A French Bistro that feels like heaven.

It was 10 am and the place was already busting at the seams. We needed a reservation for breakfast.

Still one of my favorites after all these years. Balthazar on Spring street in SoHo never disappoints.

Prune, Lower East Side:

We went on the recommendation of my beloved Anthony Bourdain, from a  few seasons ago on “No Reservations.” And I don’t say this lightly, but it was one of the best meals I have ever had in my life. We ordered several things, but for my dinner I chose the short ribs over the Yorkshire bread and every bite was a delight. This is a tiny tiny restaurant with a French feel. We absolutely loved everything about it, even the price.

Bone Marrow dish with salt and toast, a glass of wine, and radishes with butter and salt. Simply Amazing. No le pide nada a los taquitos de tuétano que nos comemos en familia.

Tiny place on the Lower East Side. Prune is frequented by stylish New Yorkers who love good food.

Make a reservation in advance. Prune is located on 1st street between 1st and 2nd Avenue in New York City.

Waverly Restaurant (around the Village)

Here’s a great place for breakfast, which I initially confused with the “Restaurant” from the Seinfeld show. Nos estabamos muriendo de hambre when we walked in, and we were delighted with all the options, it has the look and feel of a coffee shop, but has a full scale menu.The price is nice too.

The Waverly Retsaurant is a full scale restaurant with a coffee shop feel. Inexpensive and a really great spot for breakfast on a Sunday morning.

When I saw the sign I initally thought it was the original "Restaurant" from the Seinfeld show, but that is another restaurant altogether. The sign is pretty great though.

Tiny coffee shop/restaurant with all the typical breakfast noshing your heart desires, and then some. They have a huge menu to choose from.

You can also eat at the tiny bar, which resembles a diner. Cash only, please.

PizzArte, at 56th Street. Midtown

A modern, elegant, artsy place with great pizza napolitana, salads and pastas. Very cool setting and we also loved the food. As a bonus, they had a great soundtrack. Owners are ITALIANOS. Can’t go wrong with this place.

Entrance of Pizza Arte at 56th Street.

Margherita Pizza and Linguini al Vongole at Pizza Arte. MUUUY RICO.

Hot dog stand in front of the MOMA museum:

Need I say more?

You can't miss them, they're all over the place.

No guts no glory: Le pedi a este chavo tomarme una foto con el. Nunca habia visto un vendedor tan guapo. Nice guy too with a great smile.

Bar at the St. Regis Hotel:

A very swanky and posh place to have a drink. Elegant, rich, old school, and hits the spot after a long day. “Sip it slowly.”

Lovely place for a drink or two.

One martini, Two Martinii, Threee Martiniii...